B.C. surpasses 1,000 cases of COVID-19; officials announce five more deaths
VICTORIA -- B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 43 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 1,013 cases.
Of those confirmed cases, 128 people are in hospital for care, while 61 required critical care.
The province also announced five more deaths related to COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 24. According to Henry, all deaths recorded in B.C. have been of people who were in their 70s or older, except for one man who was in his 60s.
Meanwhile, Henry announced that 38 more people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 have fully recovered, bringing the provincial recovery total to 507.
Henry added that B.C. is still at a critical juncture in regards to "flattening the curve" of coronavirus transmission.
B.C.'s top doctor continues to urge residents to practise physical distancing and to self-isolate as much as possible. She recommends that older adults avoid any unnecessary travel and asks that younger residents refrain from gathering together.
Henry noted that all provincial health orders are legally enforceable but hopes that all British Columbians will follow health recommendations voluntarily.
"No one is immune to this virus but everyone can make a difference," she said.
Dix added that B.C. is continuing to prepare the healthcare system for COVID-19 worst-case scenarios.
The health minister noted that preparing the province’s hospital system for the coronavirus pandemic involved cancelling all elective surgeries.
“Nobody has sacrificed more than people who have cancelled surgeries,” said Dix. “They have not been forgotten.”
The health minister said that the B.C. government will focus on getting cancelled surgeries back on track as fast as possible whenever the COVID-19 outbreak stabilizes.
Dix also echoed Henry’s call for self-isolation and physical distancing to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“I’m going to say it again, we need 100 per cent commitment now,” he said.
Dix added that there was a “zero chance” of lifting the province’s current health orders of self-isolation and physical distancing throughout the month of April.
He said it was unlikely that the orders would ease up in May as well.
Henry said there is a possibility of a reprieve from the virus during the summer, similar to how the regular flu season becomes dormant during the season. However, B.C.’s top doctor said it was impossible to predict the possible reprieve until summer arrives.
The majority of COVID-19 cases are found in the Lower Mainland. There are 476 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 348 confirmed cases in the Fraser Health region and 107 cases in the Interior Health region.
Meanwhile, B.C. has 67 confirmed cases of the virus in the Island Health region and 15 reported in the Northern Health region.